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Business News of Monday, 19 August 2019

Source: David Owusu Ansah

Angry Sunyani residents criticize gas operators for strike


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A section of LPG consumers in Sunyani, capital of the Bono region, have described some gas operators in the region as “greedy, wicked and self-centered” people, who put “personal gains” at the expense of public safety.

A number of gas operators in the municipality on Monday suspended operations, as owners argue the decision has been taken in protest of the National Petroleum Authority’s (NPA) decision to rollout the Cylinder Recirculation Model (CRM), which, the regulator argues, is to help avert future gas explosions, provide jobs and improve the environment.

The country has recorded some of the most horrific gas explosions including the June 3 disaster at Kwame Nkrumah Circle, which claimed more than one hundred lives and left many with scars that remind them of that unfortunate incident.

But it was the tragedy at Mansco Gas near Legon, which compelled Cabinet to initiate the energy policy, which the Ministry of Energy mandated the NPA to oversee its implementation.

The NPA has been touring parts of the country, engaging consumers for their views, before the policy is rolled-out. Last week in Bolgatanga in the Upper East region, residents reminded the NPA of the importance of the policy and cautioned them not to give in to those determined to undermine the project.

Chief Executive of the NPA, Alhassan Tampuli used the interaction to debunk claims the policy will lead to job losses. Mr. Tampuli said more jobs will be created across the various value chain. He however said the current system of discharging LPG will change.

The strike is therefore an attempt to frustrate the process and despite countless engagements by the NPA with the operators, some are still adamant.
“We have met them in the various regions and in Accra, explained everything to them and they know their jobs are secured, so the latest strike is strange to us,” a source at the NPA told this reporter.

Speaking to this reporter in an interview, some of the residents, who had to carry their empty cylinders back, accused the operators of trying to blackmail them.

“So, how long are they going to close their outlets for? One customer demanded. “It is clear their pockets are more important to them than our safety, they can continue shutting them down,” another said.

The angry customers said the operators may have an issue with the roll-out but “shutting down” their operations is not the best way to resolving the issue.

Meanwhile, officials at the NPA say anyone with reservations about the policy should come forward for discussion, insisting the well-being of customers can no longer be compromised.

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